Choice of time when conditions are right is quite as necessary for success as the proper procedure. There are two separate periods when the plate bud may be used on walnut with the greatest success. The first period, in Virginia, is the latter half of May, when the black walnut stock is in almost full leaf. If done earlier the bud is likely to be drowned by the excessive bleeding of this species. Dormant buds cut the previous winter are used.
The follow-up care is vitally important. The stock should be cut off above the bud within five to seven days after budding. If successful, the bud will start into growth within another week or ten days, and may be a foot long within 30 days.
The tying material should be cut and removed within a few days after the bud starts, to prevent strangulation of the tender shoot. Be sure to keep native growth of the stock trimmed off until midsummer to force growth of the bud.
The second period for successful plate budding of the walnut centers around August first, varying somewhat with the weather conditions. Buds of the current season's growth are used. The time must be late enough for these buds to be well matured, and early enough so that the stock is still growing and the bark slipping. If the buds are immature, or the bark tight, the operation will be a failure.
The buds remain dormant during the following winter, and are forced into growth by cutting off the stock above the bud early in the spring. The tying material, if durable, should be removed about 30 days after budding.
If conditions are right and the work is properly done, a high percentage of "takes" may be expected. In summer I preferably place the bud on the shady side of the stock, or shade it with a little skirt of white paper tied just above the bud.
Chestnuts can be budded by the same method, but the spring budding should be done earlier, while the stocks are in bud, and the summer budding should be done two or three weeks later than with the walnut.
I have not tried the plate bud on hickory or pecan, but it is the only budding method I use on walnut and chestnut, and I have tried them all.
When it comes to grafting, the simple splice graft, as illustrated, is very successful, but it should only be used when scion and stock are of the same size. It works splendidly on chestnut, filbert and hickory, and can also be used on walnut; however, I prefer the modified cleft graft for the latter, because of the bleeding problem.
In making the splice graft, the diagonal cut should be about four times as long as the diameter of the scion, to prevent slippage in tying.
For the modified cleft graft I cut the stock off at the selected point at an angle of from 45 to 60 degrees. This greatly facilitates the healing of the entire wound.
The cleft is made not by splitting, but by making a cut with a sharp knife, beginning at the apex of the stock and cutting diagonally downward and inward toward the center of the stock.
Before making the cut, the scion should be selected, and the wedge cut, with one face slightly longer than the other. This enables one to properly judge the depth and angle of the cleft, thus securing a fit on all four cambial lines. The longer face goes toward the main body of the stock, and is left slightly above the top of the stock. The apex of the stock is squared off slightly before the cleft is cut, and the knife is set very slightly on the wood at the starting point, rather than between the bark and the wood. Care at this point guarantees very rapid healing, with no dead tissues or "heel" on the stock, sometimes called "dieback."
Remember to watch all ties in grafting to prevent strangulation of the tender new growth. This, with removal of sprouts or suckers from the stock below the graft are two very important features of after-care, and neglect can nullify the most expert work in the grafting operation.
In grafting the black walnut I prefer to use the side graft because of the bleeding problem. This is precisely the same as the modified cleft graft except that the cleft is made about three-fourths of an inch below the apex of the stock. By making the graft a little below the top of the stock one can tie and wax it, without waxing the top of the stock, which is permitted to bleed at will. This freedom to bleed relieves the pressure of the sap at the graft, where healing takes place without flooding.
For stocks under an inch in diameter, I use the splice and modified cleft grafts exclusively. For larger stocks, such as are encountered in top working, other methods are preferred.
One can cut the main stock off just above a small limb, and graft one or more of the limbs. Again, one may cut the large stock off a year in advance, and bud or graft one or more of the suckers that are thrown out.
If neither of the above methods are applicable, one can use either the simple bark graft, or the slot bark graft.
In making the simple bark graft, I cut the stock off at a 45 degree angle as for the modified cleft graft. The scion is prepared by making one long wedge face, and on the other side make two short faces so that the point is triangular.
To insert the scion make a cut through the bark downward from the apex of the stock. Insert the scion between the bark and the stock, with the long face next to the wood, and force gently down until just a little of the face of the wedge shows above the top of the scion. It is well, in case the stock is large, to place three or four scions around the stock, removing all but the strongest after a year of two.
This graft is satisfactory for thin-barked species, but for the hickory, the slot bark graft is preferable.
For this graft, the scion should be trimmed as a wedge, with one face about twice as long as the other. Two parallel cuts are made through the bark at the top of the stock a distance apart equal to the width of the scion wedge. This strip of bark, or "tongue" is loosened at the top, and the wedge is forced between it and the wood, with the long face next to the stock, as in the simple bark graft.
Secure tying and waxing should be practiced in all grafting. Small nails or tacks driven into the top of the stock will help in anchoring the tying material to the sloping surface.
Inexperienced propagators should get it clearly in mind that union takes place only in the new growth. This new growth builds up from the cambium layer, which is the outside layer of wood cells that lies just beneath and in contact with the bark.
This is why it is so vitally necessary that the lines between the bark and cambium be placed in parallel contact as closely as possible, in the splice and cleft grafts. Never mind if the outside of the bark of scion and do not match perfectly, due to differences in the thickness of the bark. It is the inside line of the bark that must match.
Actual union takes place along this cambial line. The old wood of the wedge and cleft cannot, and never does, unite.
A word about scions. I seldom use a scion with more than two buds. The best scion wood is of the previous season's growth, if it is of good diameter and well ripened. Thin, slender twigs give poor results. On old, slow-growing, bearing trees it is sometimes not possible to get good scion wood one year old. In this case it is best to take some of the older wood in cutting the scion. When used, the wedge should be cut from the two-year wood, just below the one-year wood, with the top of the scion carrying two or three buds on the new wood. The tip of the scion should be waxed, if cut.
Scions should be cut when perfectly dormant and kept in cold storage until used. If kept too warm and wet the buds may swell, making the scions worthless.
It is quite possible to cut the scions about three weeks before the buds begin to swell and get good results by grafting immediately. The chief danger from this practice is that late frosts may nip the buds after starting, which is fatal to the new scion.
Waxing all cut surfaces, including the tip of the scion, should be practiced except as explained when the side graft is used for walnuts. Some advocate waxing the entire scion, also. If this is done I think it better to leave the buds unwaxed.
Have your knife very sharp. A broad blade is desirable in a grafting knife, as it helps in making smooth, flat surfaces in wedges and clefts. For budding, use a knife with a narrow blade, but also very sharp. Develop skill in making the scion wedge, and in cutting the cleft just the right depth and width for the scion selected. Experiment on worthless material until you get the knack. If you are a good, natural-born whittler you will find it a greater asset than a college degree.
Beginnings in Walnut Grafting
By C. C. Lounsberry, Iowa
Anyone who has studied propagation manuals from ancient to modern times cannot help but see how methods are carried down from older books to modern ones. However, in walnut grafting one suspects there were trade secrets not permitted publication. How different this was from friendly and helpful cultural and propagation directions given by Mr. J. F. Jones, Dr. W. C. Deming, Dr. Robert T. Morris, and others of the Northern Nut Growers' Association.
Beginning with Ancient Times
Greeks: Theophrastus mentions hazel nuts but nothing about walnuts.
Romans: Pliny, Cato, etc. have little to say about walnuts. Pliny refers to planting seeds of walnuts but no other method of propagation. However, he states oaks and walnuts are poisonous to soil, and walnuts are only used in a few cases for human remedies.
English: Loudon, Evelyn, Knight, etc. Loudon sticks to propagation of walnuts by seed. Knight followed the French practice of grafting walnuts by approach up to the time of his discoveries in 1832, which were similar to Dr. Morris's "immediate" grafting.
French: The French used grafting by approach (inarching) early in the 19th century. Mortillet, 1863, states only one-third to one-half of walnut grafts are successful. These were probably Persian walnuts. We are not sure what other methods the French used. Mr. C. E. Parsons of the Felix Gillet Co. in 1940, sent us a picture showing Felix Gillet in his greenhouse at Barren Hill Nursery, Nevada City, California. This picture he states was taken in 1900-1902. It shows one year grafted walnut trees, and bench grafted walnut trees covered by tumblers six inches high, grafted by the "Treyve" process.
Beginnings in the United States
The first grafting of black walnuts thus comes down to the beginning of the 20th century.
William P. Corsa with the USDA gave much information from replies to a questionnaire sent out in 1890, on nut culture and grafting, including bench grafting, in 1896. Mr. G. W. Oliver in 1901, describes a method followed by Corsa in bench grafting walnuts and hickories. He used an incubator. Mr. Jackson Dawson previously, working with hickories, had success in the greenhouse.
Andrew S. Fuller in his Nut Culturist, published in 1896, advises that the South had not yet perfected pecan grafting. This seems to have been a challenge to Mr. J. F. Jones[1 & 7], for we find he moved from Missouri to Monticello, Fla., about 1899, and specialized in pecan grafting. He developed the slanting cut he later advocated in walnut grafting. However, again showing "there is nothing new under the sun" the author's uncle, Owen Albright, is credited by Corsa with suggesting it in 1894, and it is also suggested by Mortillet in 1863.
The necessity to protect graft unions by excluding air and moisture from cut plant tissue led to the use of balls of mud in ancient times. Later, various kinds of waxes were used.
In 1879, Prof. J. L. Budd, head of the Horticultural Department at Iowa State College, using resin and linseed oil, side grafted 150 varieties of Russian apples received from the interior of Russia in the winter of 1878. A boy swabbed hot wax on the grafts, using a lantern heater not too different from those used nowadays.
Mr. F. O. Harrington and Mr. S. W. Snyder, Iowa nurserymen were teaching grafting to members of the Iowa Horticultural Society in 1900, 1901 and 1902, at their annual meetings. Mr. J. B. McLaughlin, College Springs, Iowa, speaks of successfully grafting walnuts in 1900 in a discussion of the horticultural society led by Van Houton, Edwards, etc.
In 1909, Mr. E. A. Riehl gave a talk before the Iowa State Horticultural Society in which he advocated covering the whole walnut scion, buds and all, with liquid wax. His first Thomas grafted tree is in a ravine back at his barn at Godfrey, Illinois. It was planted about 1902.
In 1910, the Northern Nut Growers' Association was organized by Prof. John Craig of Cornell University, Dr. Robert T. Morris, Dr. W. C. Deming, Mr. T. P. Littlepage and others. Craig had previously been at Iowa State College where he and Budd had shown much interest in nut trees.
In 1912, Mr. J. F. Jones , came up from the South where he had been successful in pecan grafting and started a black walnut nursery at Lancaster, Penna. He had been in Florida up to 1907. While in Florida he became acquainted with Mr. John G. Rush, of Willow Run, Penna., and did some walnut grafting for him. It was Mr. Rush who advised him to go to Lancaster and start a nursery for northern black walnuts. Jones patented his patch budder in 1912, and using the hot wax method developed by Mr. E. A. Riehl was very successful in walnut grafting.
In 1914, Dr. W. C. Deming and President T. P. Littlepage of the N.N.G.A. and Messrs. C. A. Reed and C. P. Close of the USDA had a conference in Washington which resulted in the publication of the American Nut Journal.
Paraffin In Grafting
Dr. Robert T. Morris, writing in the American Nut Journal in 1929, advocates the use of paraffin to cover walnut grafts instead of wax. Both he and Dr. J. Russell Smith credit Mr. J. Ford Wilkinson with first using paraffin instead of wax on walnut grafts. Mr. Wilkinson wrote that he got the idea from seeing a careless workman splash paraffin on the buds as well as on the union in fruit tree grafting at the McCoy Nursery about 1914. The author bought apple and plum grafts about 1922 from the Gurney Nursery which were all covered with paraffin. It was at conventions of the Northern Nut Growers' Association that new methods like this were passed along to members.
In 1932, on account of the difficulties in outdoor grafting of the walnut, the author became interested in bench grafting of walnuts in the greenhouse as a means of supplementing outdoor grafting. However, like many other so-called new methods, it was discovered when we looked up the literature in 1937 that William P. Corsa had used methods that were similar about 1896. He cut off the seedling above the crown instead of below the crown as we did. The completed graft was packed in layers of sphagnum and placed in an incubator instead of using a greenhouse.
Notwithstanding all that has been done in black walnut grafting, the straight grained and brittle wood, the heavy sap flow, the almost instant oxidation of cut tissues, the liability to frost injury in the North in short seasons lowering vitality of scions, all combine to make walnut grafting with best methods available, a seasonal gamble.
1. AMERICAN NUT JOURNAL Life of J. F. Jones. Am. Nut Jour. 28:35, 1928
2. BUDD, J. L. Hot Waxing of Apple Grafts. Trans. Iowa Hort. Soc. 14:421. 1879
3. CORSA, WILLIAM P. USDA, Div. of Pom., Nut Culture of the United States. pp. 13-16, 58. 1896
4. FULLER, ANDREW S. Nut Culturist. 1896
5. HERSHEY, JOHN W. Life of J. F. Jones. The Nut Grower. 4:22, 1928
6. INSTITUT FUR OBSTBAU, BERLIN Die Walnusz verediung. (Vegetative Propagation of Walnuts.) Merkbl. Inst. Obstb. Berlin 5, pp. 15, 1936
7. JONES, J. F. Propagation of Nut Trees. About 1927
8. KNIGHT, THOMAS ANDREW New methods of Grafting Walnuts. Trans. Hort. Soc. of London. 2nd series. Vol. I, 1831-1835. pp 214-216
9. McLAUGHLIN, J. B. Grafting Black Walnuts. Trans. Iowa Hort. Soc. 35:534, 1900
10. MORRIS, DR. ROBERT T. Paraffin Coating Solves Difficult Grafting. Am. Nut Jour. 30:70,85. 1929
11. MORTILLET, PAUL D. Le Noyer sa Culture ses Varieties. (Propagation of the Walnut.) Rev. Hort. 136:499. 1863
12. NNGA CONVENTION, St. Louis Trip to Riehl Nut Orchard. Am. Nut Journ. 23:59, 1925
13. OLIVER, G. W. Grafting Walnuts and Hickories. Amer. Gard. 22:307-308. 1901
14. RIEHL, E. A. Nut Growing for Pleasure and Profit. Trans. Iowa State Hort. Soc. 44:84, 1909
15. SMITH, J. RUSSELL Tree Crops. 1929
16. STANDARD CYC. OF HORT. Hickory Propagation, p. 1489, 1925
17. WITT, A. W. and HOWARD SPENCE Vegetative Propagation of Walnuts. Ann. Rep. East Malling Res. Sta. 1926-7, Supl. A 10, 1928, pp. 60-64
By John Davidson, Xenia, Ohio
(Read at the Ohio Nut Growers Annual Meeting, Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station, August 16, 1946.)
Where did the Persian, or so-called "English" walnut come from? Why is it a good commercial nut? The Pecan? How far can it be carried north beyond its natural, or original, environment? The Pawpaw? Why is it not a good commercial fruit? Why don't most people like it? What is the matter with the mulberry in America? In China and Japan it has a score of uses and great popularity.
These questions need an answer, and the answer almost invariably is that the poorer varieties and species have had but little attention and development by human beings while the better ones, Persian walnuts, grapes, melons, apples, dates, figs—all have had much attention and painstaking selection—in some cases for centuries. Upon the other hand, to cite a contrasting case the black walnut has no such history. It is the baby among nuts—a pure American baby—waiting for some nursemaid—for many nursemaids—to tend and develop it as a prince among trees should be developed.
Let us look back into the story behind a few—a very few—of our better known fruits and nuts and see, if we can, how they happened.
In America once lived a man nicknamed "Johnny Appleseed." His neighbors called him a "crackpate." He had a mania for planting tree seeds wherever he went. As a rule they were haphazardly selected seeds, but usually appleseeds.
What started him upon this crazy journey through the wilderness? Whatever it was, it would be worth while to isolate the germ and with it inoculate our present-day soil wasters.
But he was not the first one of his kind. Hundreds of pre-historic planters had gone before him. For years, now, explorers have been searching out and sending back to America certain valuable discoveries. Tremendously interesting, all of them. As one reads, it becomes increasingly evident that a considerable amount of scientific plant and animal breeding, selection, perhaps even grafting and artificial cross fertilization, budding and slip propagating may have been practiced by pre-historic, intelligent, forgotten men long before our modern times.
We usually find, today, that the best plants and animals have had their start in some center of old civilization. China, Manchuria, Japan, Indo-China, India, Persia, Asia Minor, Central America, Oceania—these places, the nurseries of all existing races of men are today the bonanza spots for these explorers. Such a coincidence could hardly have been due to chance. It must surely occur to the mind of anyone who cares to put two and two together that, in each of these centers, other ancient gatherers and planters had been busy in their day, just as our own explorers and experiment station scientists are carrying on today—our modern, scientific Johnny Appleseeds.
It is hardly possible, here, to follow to the ends of the earth all of the trails of the tribe of Johnny Appleseed. One little section will do well enough for purposes of illustration. Let us consider Iran, or, as our fathers knew it, Persia. Here is a field that, possibly because of previous plunderings, is not now the most fruitful of our sources of plant and animal discovery, yet it is an eye-opener, and will do very well as a type of similar test-plots throughout the world.
Here is a short list of only a few of the plants which have been developed for centuries, and were reported in the last century as growing in Persia—many, no doubt, descended from stocks which once grew in the famous hanging gardens of Babylon: apples, pears, filberts muskmelons, watermelons, grapes, peaches, plums, nectarines. And of flowers, these: marigold, chrysanthemum, hollyhock, narcissus, tulip, tuberose, aster, wallflower, dalia, white lily, hyacinth, violet, larkspur, pink and finally, the famous rose of Persia, from whence comes the attar of roses for which Persia is still famous. It would seem that someone must have possessed a knowledge of plant propagation in Persia centuries ago.
Several of these products have had their influence upon the history and poetry of the world. It will be remembered by most high school students that when the Caesars and big shots of Rome and Greece wished to create a big splash in the social ponds of their day, they sent, at enormous expense, for melons and dates from Persia. Melons, in particular, seemed to be the high spot in those Lucullan feasts, and, in this connection it is well to remember that Lucullus, himself, as commanding general of a Roman legion, had long lived in Persia and had, no doubt, acquired a taste for Persian delicacies. His princely estates near Rome, no doubt, grew rare plants from Asia Minor and were very likely tended by the skilled Aryan, early Accadian or Semitic gardeners of Persia. These slaves were probably descended from and were heir to the trade secrets of some of the very builders of that seventh wonder of the world, the hanging gardens of Babylon. Except for those forgotten workers from Persia, one may well wonder whether, today, our Rocky Ford, Ohio Sugar, or Hearts-of-Gold muskmelon delicacies would exist at all.
An interesting side-light may be found in the history of the peach. Originally this fruit was in all probability a poisonous variety of almond. What wizard, or succession of wizards, was it who created a peach from a pest—an asset from a liability? Persian, probably. Whoever did it, it constitutes one of the outstanding miracles of plant breeding, whether natural or artificial. The poison was sealed within the seed (where it remains to this day) and the nectar of the gods was bred into the pulp around it.
Consider also the Persian walnut, now, for some strange reason, popularly called "English" walnut. This delicacy, too, was unlikely to have happened merely by chance. It was, no doubt, bred by a race of men trained in observation and experiment such as the Persians preeminently were. Having first been nomads, domesticators and breeders of animals; they eventually became husbandmen, breeders of trees and plants, and they undoubtedly found that the principles which were so usefully employed in producing animal variations could also be used in producing and fixing plant varieties. The pollen or germ of an outstanding good male individual, when brought into contact with the pistil or ovum of an outstanding female individual of the same species will produce a scion that is more likely than any other to have good qualities. Here was the secret of most of the progress which has been made in both animal and plant breeding, a secret of immense value—so valuable, in fact, that it was guarded for generation after generation by a close-mouthed priesthood.
Just as, in the middle ages, the monasteries of Europe and Asia kept alive the tiny flame of Greek and Roman culture throughout the foggy ignorance of the Dark Ages, so did the priests of Baal, of Ashtoreth, of Marduk and of Ormuzd pass on the torch of their day to their successors who were Greeks and Romans. The Eleusinian mysteries, which at a later time were associated with a considerable amount of sensual, closely guarded ritual, were, in the Greek period, celebrated in the temple of Ceres in Eleusis. The origin of these sacred mysteries is lost in the shadow of profound antiquity. We know, only, that they were in the safekeeping of many generations of priests who jealously guarded them from thieving and ignorant conquerors. These mysteries were probably, at bottom, a body of scientific truths. They undoubtedly had to do with a store of information, painfully gleaned for generations, about those facts of reproduction, selection and beneficient fertility which are so close to the Holy of Holies of creation itself. Probably these precious mysteries could be simmered down to a few fundamentals and such as are now generally practiced by all plant and animal breeders. And they are not fully understood today, any more than they were fully understood three thousand years ago.
By the practice of these simple arts, hedged in with taboos and religious inhibitions, Persia, Assyria, and all Mesopotamia became the garden spot of the world where things seemed to grow as they grew no place else. Here, in fact, was said to have been located the only genuine and original Garden of Eden, pointed out to this day by the faithful as the veritable spot where the father and mother of the race lived in a laborless, exhaustless Paradise.
Mention has been made of the probability that the Persians, who originally were nomadic and therefore were chiefly interested in the domestication of animals—which means, really, selective breeding—used this knowledge in plant breeding when they finally settled down. The big leap from nomadic to settled life must have caused the old timers of that day plenty of headaches. It was a new deal to top all New Deals. Was it, perhaps, some Johnny Appleseed who engineered the New Deal of that day?
Let us guess at the method he used. As the nomad tribe passed from place to place with its goats, its sheep, its camels, Johnny with his sons and grandsons would take to prettying up the camp sites a bit. He particularly like the dates from one palm that grew upon an oasis far down the desert. He carried the seeds from this tree and planted them at various stopping places. He did the same thing with some especially sweet nuts from a walnut tree which he had found, let us say, in the Caucasus Mountains. He set out many bright-blossomed desert weeds in order to attract the wild honey bees. Bees! Wherever there were bees, he had found flowers that reproduced themselves, trees that bore fruit. Some of these bees he found to be good workers and others he found lazy, quarrelsome and inefficient. He killed out the quarrelsome colonies and built hiding places for the better ones. In short, he did so much to make the camping places cozy, comfortable and in every way desirable that finally it became more and more difficult for the tribe to tear itself away on moving day. By reason of the small irrigation arrangements which Johnny had found desirable for his plantings and his bees, grass became more abundant and the flocks did not need to be moved so often. In time, the whole tribe wakened to the fact that a revolution had taken place. They did not need to move at all, ever! There was plenty of grumbling from the die-hards, but here the tribe stuck. It refused to budge.
In time, a certain phrase, current throughout that part of the world, was used to describe this pleasant country: "A land flowing with milk and honey!"
Unfortunately, it was a land, also, which could not fail, in the flower of its wealth and luxury, to attract the attention of those savage northerners who lived beyond this favored land. They came, they saw, and eventually they conquered. When Rome had definitely destroyed the flower of Asia Minor's civilization, the Roman proconsuls and merchants "rescued" and carried back to Italy many of the rarest of Mesopotamia's possessions. Among these, perhaps, were those indispensable wonder-workers among the flowers, the better bees of Persia. And this may be the reason why, these many centuries later, our bee experts still recommend that, if we wish to increase the strength and productivity of a backward hive of bees, we buy and introduce into the hive an Italian queen. Her ancient and still prepotent virility can almost invariable be relied upon to transfuse the colony with new and fruitful vigor. An "Italian" queen, is it? We wonder, as we think of that venerable land of Eden which once flowed with milk and honey, whether this so-called Italian queen might not more correctly be named Persian.
You see, in this story we are traveling backwards into history like Ally Oop in his time machine. But beyond Persia one can go only in imagination. For the Persians, too, were a conquering nation and, no doubt, gathered their booty of gold and sheep and camels, of flowers and bees, from all the then known world which was subject to them. So perhaps Persia, too, has no more right to label her treasures Persian than has Italy with her presumably mislabeled Italian bees, nor England with her undoubtedly mislabeled English walnuts. However, the work of Johnny Appleseed has always belonged, not to his tribe nor to his locality, but to the world. These same Persian walnuts take rank among the better clues by which migrations of the Aryans may be traced over the face of the earth. For instance, not only do they take root easily in the mild, friendly climate of California, but much hardier strains are found to have climbed the Carpathians and the steppes of Russia almost to the very doors of Moscow. Scions of these hardier strains have very recently been made to grow and yield their nuts in America as far north as Toronto and are being set out in numbers in the northern part of the United States. How well they will prosper in this new, more variable and chilly climate remains to be seen, but the start is made. No doubt it will be by Johnny's old method of patient and repeated selection, first for hardiness then for quality, that the planned result will be accomplished.
The contributions of Persia and the plantings of its forgotten scientists have here merely been touched on. Nothing, for instance, has been said about her great groves of mulberry trees, which led to silk-worms, which led to silk, which led to the production of jewel-bright vegetable dyes, which led to the development of a decorative art in fabrics that is rivaled by China, alone, in all the world. And of course, Aryan Persia is only one of the many treasure centers of ancient civilization. In scores of racial settlements elsewhere our lives today are being changed and enriched in innumerable ways by the hands of those old miracle-workers whose names were writ in water and whose works are immortal. The accomplishments of China are of such magnitude that even now we are only beginning to discover our debt to her. India, Indo-China, Mongolia, Manchuria, Japan—all have similar backgrounds. Even in the United States, young as it is, the migrations of pre-historic races have left their trails in the gardens and forests around us. Pecans from the South, for example, have been carried North and are gradually developing hardy strains that survived in Indiana and Illinois groves.
Enough has been said to blaze the way to the end at which I have been driving. It may begin to look as though modern plant explorers have now followed the plant-spoor of human migrations to their final limits. It may look, too, as though the ends of these converging trails will find civilization at last firmly established. Or will they?
The future race, let us admit, may eventually be able, by means of an almost unthinkable development of food, clothing, building and medical supplies of a synthetic or semi-synthetic nature, to dispense with some of the agriculture we know. This is the prediction of some scientists. Let it stand. What then is to be done with the land upon which our food crops had formerly been raised? Manifestly, it must again be covered with hurricane-control, flood-control, and erosion-control vegetation, chiefly trees, perhaps. Trees for safety's sake, trees for beauty's sake, for recreation's sake, trees for food's—yes, food's sake, for flavor and health, trees and vegetation as sources for the very synthetic that are supposed to supplant them; and last but not least, trees and vegetation for the protection and perpetuation of animal life, of bird life, and insect life. All these are inseparably bound up with human life.
Come what may at the hands of a short-sighted human race, no matter what surface changes may come about in human eating habits, housing styles, farming or factory practice, still the winds will sweep the earth in hurricanes where there is nothing to impede them; the waters and ice of the heavens will still tear apart and level the hills, will gash the valleys and will carry off the earth and dump it into the sea. Following this, the sun will burn the unprotected earth into a cinder. Nothing can change these facts. From the beginning of life upon the earth, trees and vegetation have been the chief means by which a balance has been maintained between the antagonistically destructive and creative natures of the elements.
Do we realize fully, I wonder, how important is the work of this group and the parent NNGA? The interest of its members is chiefly in "wild" trees that produce food crops—mainly, but not exclusively, nut crops. And they are interested not merely in planting and testing names and known varieties, but in finding and testing the best individuals among the wild trees, planting selected seed, enjoying the exciting gamble which is always sealed up in the magic, unknown potentialities of a hybrid.
As, centuries ago, the Persian walnut was rescued from the forest and developed into the splendid nut we know today, so the American black walnut can be rescued; its nut can be improved and developed by selection and cross-breeding. It is a grand mahogany-like timber tree which is becoming far too scarce. Each war takes its toll for gun stocks. Its nuts are the only nuts within my knowledge, not even excepting our lost American chestnuts, that retain their full distinctive flavor through cooking. Nothing can replace its flavor in candy or cake making. The tree is indigenous to America and, in contrast to the Persian, has only decades, rather than centuries of selective breeding behind it. No one can tell what even one short century of intelligent selection may make of this great tree.
We Americans, in fact, have barely started on the Appleseed trail, a trail which tends toward the development of a permanent perennial, rather than annual, type of agriculture, with trees, shrubs, vines and perennial grasses its chief interest. For, no matter what chemistry has in store for us in the way of plastics for construction and of synthetics for foods and drugs, the good earth is still our sole source of supply. The chestnut, the mulberry, persimmon, pawpaw, pecan, hickory, wild cherry, the grape, the elderberry in fact the whole tribe of fruits and nuts with flavors found nowhere else on earth—all are growing along this ancient trail. They offer an infinite variety of opportunity for exploration and discovery. To work with them gives one a sense of sharing in the work of creation.
Graft the Persian Walnut High in Michigan
By Gilbert Becker, Climax, Michigan
The rule to plant the Persian walnut where peaches and sweet cherries do well is a good one; but not infallible and certainly can't be too closely relied upon here in southwestern Michigan. Since 1933, I have placed several hundred grafts of the Persian walnut upon black stocks. Many of these are top worked trees, but there were 68 grafted seedlings in nursery rows, grafted in 1936. These were planted out two years later. Some are now about ten feet tall with a well branched head. Of this lot I have only harvested one ripe nut and that was four years ago. Two of these same trees were planted near some buildings and shrubbery at a neighbor's home, and they are now bearing well.
Before going further I must say that Persian walnut trees and peach trees are quite different. First, the Persian walnut cannot stand having its female flowers frosted when they are out or nearly so. Second, the peach can stand frost at, or shortly after, full bloom, and they will set a bumper crop of peaches. We have had two years of late spring frosts at the time nut trees were in bloom, and we have had bumper crops of peaches each year. Apples were badly hit, so many have failed to bear. Lilac blossoms failed to come out and be showy because of these severe frosts. However, I know of a peach tree heavily loaded right now growing between two Persian walnuts that haven't had a single nut either year, though they have borne nuts previously. Thus, peaches will bear in frosty springs when Persian walnuts are damaged. Further, good-air drainage, such as a high hill, with a deep valley below will save the Persian nut crop in a frosty spring. I have a small Persian walnut grafted in such a location, and it is the heaviest loaded nut tree I have. It has so many large nuts on its limbs that its lower limbs are actually resting upon the ground. This was grafted upon an established black seedling four years ago.
What I have so far told would lead one to think that there is no nut crop on my Persian grafts this year. This is not so, for I have one of the largest crops in the 13 years I have had grafted Persian walnuts. These are on top-worked trees high above the ground! Most of the top-worked trees are over 12 feet at the graft, or higher, and it is best to have them this high, because almost all lower limbs are simply minus nuts, due to our unfavorable spring. As for proof, I noticed that the lower limbs had blackened leaves, while the entire tops were undamaged a few days after the frosty weather. The lower branches leaved out the second time in late May. It seems as if the Persian walnut produces two nuts to every one that a grafted black walnut will on a top of equal size. We are troubled with walnut curculio as well as considerably by squirrels, and by a leaf disorder that often blackens the leaves and causes them to fall in early September, followed by premature dropping of the nuts. Even then, there should be a good crop this year.
Now, comes the question, should we graft the Persian walnut high, here in Michigan? It certainly saves time, because a middle-aged walnut tree produces, in terms of pecks and bushels, in eight to 15 years. Being well established it saves patience and disappointment. And I know it is far more profitable.
This writing of my experience is not intended to hurt the established nut tree nurseryman in any way. Any of you who may live in Michigan are certainly devoted to your hobby and have doubtless learned the skills and pleasures of top-working a good sized seedling black walnut. You will surely find it profitable. First, purchase the grafted Persian tree from your nurseryman, and later, from this, work your established seedling blacks at your convenience. Graft them at least 12 feet up and see if what I say isn't quite true.
Pecan Growing in Western Illinois
By R. B. Best, Eldred, Illinois
We need a consistent philosophy in this troubled world of ours. Working with nature and especially with nut trees helps us to develop this philosophy and to realize that there are no panaceas for our present day problems except as we work them out ourselves. After all our wishful thinking with panaceas and doctrines, we come back to the same conclusion. Those people with the best foundations built on reason and truth are those who are nearest the soil and growing things. Those who work with trees and other living things in nature possess the philosophy which acts as a breastwork against the forces which would destroy our society.
We started our propagation of nut trees in 1930 under the guiding hand of Mr. Wilkinson, Mr. Sawyer and Professor Ray Marsh of the University of Illinois, and later have had help from Dr. Colby of the University. We have at present about 2500 grafted pecan trees, a few varieties of hickories, black walnuts, chestnuts, filberts, persimmons, butternuts, heartnuts, pawpaws, etc. When people ask me what we expect from our trees, I tell them that the trees have already paid me in satisfaction if not in filling my purse. I do expect our nut tree project to give us a good financial return. The pecan is our leader in Western Illinois as a popular nut. Much of our Illinois river bottom land, if deserted by man, would immediately pass back to nature and exist as pecan groves. I have been working with pecan trees since 1930 and today find myself with more questions than answers. We are growing at present about 37 varieties of pecans. We are reaching certain notions which we hope are right. The hybrids are fine and make wonderful trees but I doubt if they are the answer to our problem. With these remarks I dispose of further discussion of the Burlington, Rockville, McCallister and Gerardi varieties.
The Major and Greenriver are excellent performers but are a little late maturing for us. The Posey nut is slightly earlier and makes an excellent quality but is not to be compared with Major and Greenriver for bearing. Our Butterick trees are excellent growers but bear few nuts. This variety is the poorest bearer that we have. Our earliest pecans of the better known varieties are Indiana and Busseron, of the newer varieties, Stephens and Gildig No. 2.
The Giles pecan which Mr. Wilkinson discovered in Kansas is our outstanding nut for yield, size and early bearing but it should also be earlier maturing. Although the Giles has been late when grafted on some of our native trees, it has been early on others. In 1945, which will always be known by the Illinois weather man as the year without a summer, we found a great difference in our Major, Greenriver, and Giles nuts from tree to tree as to size and maturity. This question of compatibility between stock and scion is of the utmost importance and it impedes investigational work, complicating comparisons we are trying to make. Some of our new varieties which we are trying out might be checked immediately if we knew the effect of the under stocks of our trees.
Our farms are about 50 miles north of St. Louis, Mo. Our first problem with pecans is maturity. The old named varieties are a little late for us. I personally feel that we should get grafts from no farther north than New Haven, Ill., or Rockport, Ind. I am interested in Mr. Gerardi's varieties at O'Fallon, Ill., because they should be early. Dr. Colby has brought to light three new ones from Cass County, Ill. which should make excellent maturity in central Illinois.
We are blessed in our community with large numbers of native pecan seedlings. The behavior of different nuts on different stocks is not the same. Before any nut should be condemned we feel it should have an opportunity to perform on different stocks over a period of years. For this reason we always try to graft a number of trees to each variety.
Most things taken from nature are subject to improvement and can be better adapted to the use of man. I would like to see some new varieties of pecans developed for our northern zone. I would like to see large plantings of nuts from all our leading varieties of pecans. From these seedling studies, great good would come and possibly a good variety. I would like to see Major, Greenriver, Giles, Posey, Busseron, Indiana, the Gildigs crossed with some early prolific nuts. I would like to see every nut that had any good quality crossed with every other good nut in a mass planting so that genetics could operate and have these trees planted where they might be permitted to reach maturity and the "get" of each union studied. We might get an early heavy bearer which would revolutionize the pecan industry. I would like to see some of our good Southern varieties like Stuart crossed with early northern varieties. This search for new nuts should be accelerated.
Let us rededicate ourselves to the problem of getting the "super-nut." Let us explore these new fields of nut germ plasm which lie all about us, pull these old nuts apart genetically and recombine their good with the good of other nuts into new varieties. If we should fail 10,000 times and succeed once, success would be cheap.
Random Notes from Eastern New York
By Gilbert L. Smith, Wassaic, New York
During the past few years I have found it increasingly difficult to keep up my nut tree work. However, three years hence, I expect to retire from my job as Farm Manager at Wassaic State School and then to devote much of my time to nut work. Mr. Benton now has even less time than I do for the nut work. Our work of previous years is now beginning to show results, especially our variety tests which should become more significant each year as more varieties come into bearing and repeat crops bear out or disprove our earlier opinions. Following are some of our findings on such varieties as have borne enough for us to form an opinion.
THOMAS, no doubt, is still entitled to first place. We made a poor start with Thomas as our first graft was placed on a stock growing at the edge of low swampy ground and the nuts of this graft have never matured properly, while those from two younger grafts, on higher ground, have matured their nuts well. This shows that black walnuts should not be planted in low wet ground, that is, land that is actually swampy; low ground which is well-drained is all right.
We have found Thomas to be a fast growing and very good type tree. The nut is large, thin-shelled and cracks excellently, giving light-colored fine appearing kernels, largely in whole quarters. We do not consider the flavor of Thomas to be one of the best. I have tested this many times by cracking nuts of Benton, Snyder, Sparrow and Thomas, and then, without revealing which is which, have had various people try them and pick out the ones they like best; Benton and Sparrow in all cases were liked best, Snyder second and Thomas always least in favor. Thomas is a consistent bearer here.
SPARROW is a little known variety which has a good many good points in its favor. In my opinion, it surpasses Thomas in everything except size of nut and cracking quality. In cracking quality I consider them to be about equal. Sparrow originated near Lomax, Ill. Wood of it was sent to us by C. A. Reed in the Spring of 1938. It has never been entered in any contest so is little known. The tree may not be quite as fast growing as Thomas, but it retains its foliage in the fall until cut by hard frost, long after its nuts have ripened, while Thomas will be nearly bare of leaves for some time before frost or its nuts are ripe. Sparrow ripens its nuts a full two weeks ahead of Thomas.
The nuts of Sparrow are medium in size, being about 27 to the pound while Thomas will run about 19 or 20 to the pound. The nuts of Sparrow look small while on the tree because it has a thin husk. Yet it husks easily, coming out of the husk cleaner than any other black walnut I know of. Also I have never seen a husk maggot in this variety while some varieties with thick husks were badly infested. As the nut ripens, the husk turns yellow. The nut yields practically 30% kernel (29.94%) with 96% unbroken quarters. Color of kernel is bright and the flavor is excellent. Sparrow has borne consistently.
SNYDER is a fairly well-known variety, having won first prize in the New York and New England contest of 1934. The tree is a little slower in growing than most varieties, yet it bears young and consistently Like Sparrow, it retains its foliage well until cut by frost. The nut is large, being about 21 per pound, with a very thick husk, on which account it should be husked as soon as gathered, as the husk will turn dark and stain the kernel. It ripens at the same time as Sparrow, last of September here. The nut cracks well, yielding about 25% kernel of good quality, about 95% in unbroken quarters. The color of the kernel tends to be a little dark.
Certainly Snyder should prove to be a valuable variety for short season locations and possibly as a pollinizer for Sparrow. Also the retention of foliage in fall, until cut by frost, make this and Sparrow of considerable ornamental value. Early dropping of the foliage in the fall is a serious fault of some varieties as an ornamental.
BENTON originated with us, the original tree growing in Mr. Benton's dooryard. It won second prize in the New York and New England contest of 1934. The nut is rather small, running about 34 to the pound. However, it yields about 29% kernel of excellent quality, light in color and about 86% quarters. It ripens about a week later than Snyder and Sparrow. It is a consistent bearer, a fairly fast growing tree, but only fair as to retention of foliage in the fall.
STAMBAUGH is a well known variety, but we are a little too far north for it, 41 deg.45' N. Lat. It matures well here only in our most favorable seasons. It appears to be an excellent nut, large, good cracking quality and good flavor. It appears to be a little capricious as to bearing, two years ago our one graft was heavily loaded, but there was no crop last year and a light one only this year. In spite of the lateness in maturing the nut, the tree sheds its foliage early.
WILCOX is the outstanding variety of hickory of those which have borne in our test orchard, so far. This originated near Geneva, Ohio. It. won second prize in the Ohio contest of 1934. It appears to be a consistent, alternate bearer. The nut is only medium in size for a shagbark, about 90 to the pound. It cracks almost perfectly, yielding about 38% kernel, mostly in whole halves. Color of kernel bright and of very good flavor.
MINNIE has also appeared very good. It is a trifle larger than Wilcox, being 85 to the pound. It cracks excellently and is of good quality. But so far it has not yielded as well as has Wilcox.
DAVIS has shown up quite well. Our oldest graft is on a bitternut stock; it has borne well but the nuts have not cracked as well as those from the original tree or the ones grown at Cornell. In size the nut is between Minnie and Wilcox, kernel bright, plump and of good quality.
FOX has been rather disappointing as produced on grafts so far. Not that it is a poor nut, in fact it is a good nut, but because it has fallen so far short of what was expected of it. Fox is the mystery variety of the hickories. How it could unanimously win first prize in the Northern Nut Growers Association contest of 1934, with a sample of nuts so excellent in every way and then for the grafts to bear only fair nuts, is a mystery. Some have advanced the idea of bud variation in the parent tree. To prove or disprove this, I made a trip to the original tree in the spring of 1943 and gathered grafting wood from various parts of the tree. This wood was grafted on various stocks in our test orchard, so that we now have living grafts from 13 different parts of the original tree. If there is a bud variation, we should certainly have some of the good ones and are anxiously waiting the time when these grafts begin to bear. To lend a little credence to the bud variation theory, I found that at some time in the past the Fox tree had been broken off in a storm and had since formed a new top, largely from a single leader. Mr. Fox stated that he had naturally taken wood from the lower portions of the tree as it was much easier to do so. (The late Dr. Zimmerman made a similar study of this tree and its nuts from different branches. He was firmly convinced that there were differences.—Ed.)
We have really tested only two varieties so far, these are the Fodermaier and Wright. Both are very good, but we now consider Wright to be by far the better of the two. It is somewhat hardier than Fodermaier, nuts ripen earlier, and bears better with us. Fodermaier is also more severely affected by the butternut curculio than is the Wright, some years nearly all of the Fodermaier nuts have been destroyed by the curculio.
GELLATLY has borne only one year with us, so we cannot form much of an opinion on it. It appears to be a very good nut.
Crath Carpathian Persian Walnuts
Several of our seedling Crath trees have nuts this year. In all cases, there are only a few nuts on each as our trees are still quite small. I had to hand-pollinate the blossoms this spring; this resulted in a rather small percentage of sets; then the curculio took a rather severe toll, so we will have only a few of each variety.
In 1944 one of our seedlings bore 12 nuts. These were so good that we have named the variety "Littlepage" in honor of the late Thomas Littlepage, and are having it patented. We have published a little booklet on this variety, and upon request, we will be glad to mail a copy to anyone interested.
This is about all we have to offer at this time in regard to our variety tests.
We have a problem which I wish to bring before the members of the Association. It is that of controlling the butternut curculio. This insect is very bad on butternut, heartnut and Persian walnuts, with us it does not attack black walnuts or hickories. I fear that it is going to prove hard to control, as the larva is of the boring type, being found inside the green nuts, inside the new growth of the terminals and in the fleshy part of the leaf stems. In these places it cannot be reached by poisons. It appears that we will have to work entirely on the adult beetles. These eat very little and seem to make puncture-like holes, eating little outside tissue but mostly deeper tissues, thus poison will probably have to be applied heavily in order for it to get enough to kill it. D.D.T. is not effective against the apple and plum curculio so probably will not be so against the butternut curculio. It might be effective to apply a heavy coating of D.D.T. bearing dust under the trees so that as the larva drop to the ground to pupate, they will be killed while the adult beetle may be immune to D.D.T., it is not likely that the pupa could survive in heavily impregnated soil.
The adult beetles are present from the time the first leaves appear until late summer. A spray of 4 to 5 pounds of arsenate of lead and 12 to 15 pounds of hydrated lime to 100 gallons of water, applied once a week throughout the early part of the season might prove effective but it will certainly prove expensive.
Planting of the affected varieties at some distance from woodlands and wild butternut trees is helpful in avoiding this insect, but as the trees grow older the pests may build up a population of their own. Some sections of the county may not be affected; I hope so.
Maybe we can get some of our entomologists to work on this insect. Let's put a little pressure on our State Experiment Stations and the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Maybe Mr. Reed can help us.
Another subject I wish to mention is that of hardiness in nut trees. In reading the NNGA reports and in some of the letters I have received, I have found that many people confuse killing of the young leaves in the spring by late frosts, with winter hardiness. In my opinion there is no connection at all. I have seen many trees that were not hurt at all by -34 deg.F. in mid-winter yet had all of their leaves killed by a late frost in the spring. In fact all species and varieties of hickory and walnut will have their leaves killed by a hard frost if the leaves have opened out of the buds; this includes our native wild trees as well as the grafted varieties.
The only hardiness against late spring frosts is the characteristic of leafing out late, thus escaping most of such frosts. Of the different species, the black walnuts seem to be best protected in this way, with the hickories next and the heartnuts and Persian walnuts least protected. Of course there is a considerable varietal variation within each species.
Then the protection we can provide, is to plant nut trees on side hills or other high ground where there is good air drainage, thus avoiding the frost pockets. Of course many want to plant nut trees and have no place except in low frosty sites. To these I say that they can expect to lose an occasional nut crop by these late spring frosts, but that only in exceptional cases will the trees suffer permanent injury. In years when the crops are lost the trees will still be good ornamentals and shade trees. My door yard is quite a frost pocket, yet I have lost only one crop of heartnuts out of four or five crops, no permanent injury to the tree.
Yield and Nut Quality of the Common Black Walnut In the Tennessee Valley
By Thomas G. Zarger, Tennessee Valley Authority
Black walnut occurs on open, non-crop land in the Tennessee Valley region. Trees grow around the farmstead, along fence rows, and in pastures on most farms. In recent years harvesting of walnuts for market from these trees has increased significantly. Looking forward to a fuller utilization of the wild black walnut crop, knowledge on the bearing habits of these open-grown black walnut trees was required. To supply this information a study of tree growth, nut yield, and nut quality was undertaken in 1940. Results on nut yield available from this study after six years are summarized in this report.
[Footnote 12: Contribution from TVA Forestry Relations Department, Forestry Investigations Division on a project conducted in the Forest Products Section.]
This study was initiated with the selection of representative open-grown walnut trees throughout the Tennessee Valley. In 1940, 96 sample trees were selected and 36 trees were added to the study in 1942. These 132 trees are located in 42 counties and afford a good representation of age, size, and growth quality of open-grown black walnut. Each sample tree has been visited annually. Entire crops were collected, carefully weighed and sampled: tree diameters and other measurements were taken for the tree growth phase of the study. When convenient, nuts were hulled in the field with a corn sheller, but more often they were brought to Norris and run through a hulling machine. After hulling, the nuts were dried until cured, then a sample for each tree was tested for percentage of filled nuts, nut weight, and cracking quality.
Results on nut yield and nut quality for the 132 sample trees have been condensed to the presentation in Table 1. For the six-year period the average tree in this study had a diameter of 13.3 inches and yielded 33 pounds of hulled, dry nuts a year. The yield of common black walnut trees in the Tennessee Valley is characterized by extreme variation. Tree size, of course, influences nut yield. One-half of the yields from a 6-inch diameter tree ranged from no crop to 4 pounds of hulled, dry nuts; whereas half the yields from a 22-inch tree ranged from 40 to 100 pounds. A yield of less than one-half pound of hulled, dry walnuts was considered "no crop". Some individual trees had unusually high or low yields. The outstanding bearer was tree 117. It had the highest average yield for the six-year period, and the heaviest crop of hulled, dry nuts for any single year. During the six years this tree yielded 953 pounds of dry, hulled nuts and 194 pounds of kernels—truly outstanding production for a common black walnut tree. Another notable bearer, tree 100, yielded 916 pounds of nuts and 189 pounds of kernels. However, this tree was almost 11 inches larger in diameter than tree 117. The exceptional bearers in each diameter class also had the highest single nut crops. The other extreme is characterized by low yields. Crops were lacking or insignificant for trees 60, 63, 211, and 221. Tree 37, with a 19.7-inch diameter, bore only one crop of 31 pounds during the entire six-year period. This tree has no value for nut production but would yield a good sawlog.
Variation of yield by seasons and locality was examined by grouping the 132 sample trees into six localities of 22 trees each. Greater variation in averages by crop years existed than averages by tree location groups. However, some variation was found between the eastern and western portions of the Tennessee Valley.
Indications on bearing habits were obtained for a six-year period on 96 trees, Nos. 1 through 140 (Table 1). Crop records for each of these trees were examined for relatively high and low yield by seasons. Convincing evidence on the alternation of bearing has accumulated during this six-year period with 46 percent of the trees having lighter crops every other year. Of these, 28 trees bore lighter crops in the odd years and 16 trees bore lighter crops in the even years. Tree 117, previously mentioned as outstanding in regard to yield, produced lighter crops in 1940, 1942, and 1944. This tree is located in west Tennessee.
Walnut trees bearing lighter crops in 1941, 1943, and 1945 are more abundant in the eastern than in the western portion of the Tennessee Valley. This occurrence undoubtedly accounts for much of the variation found between the eastern and western portions.
Four other yield patterns were recognized in 30 per cent of the trees. These indicate the existence of uniform annual crops and three-year cyclic bearing of black walnut. The bearing habits of the remaining 24 per cent of the trees is considered merely irregular, since definite patterns cannot be recognized until bearing records cover a longer period of years.
The cracking quality of the nuts from the trees in this study was tested on a random sample of nuts from each crop that was collected and brought back to Norris. The nuts of each sample were weighed and the average nut weight computed. The nuts were then cracked in a hand-cracking machine, and kernels that could be extracted with the fingers were removed and weighed. From this weight was computed the first-crack marketable kernel percentage. The nuts that still contained kernels were recracked and the remaining kernel removed. All kernels, including crumbs, were then weighed in order to compute the total kernel weight and kernel percentage. Finally, all of the quarters extracted were counted, and the average number of quarters was computed. Kernels recovered at first crack and the average number of quarters extracted indicate the relative ease of extraction of kernels.
Cracking quality of walnuts for individual sample trees averaged by crop years are presented in Table 1. Nuts of all crops collected from four trees, 57, 58, 60, and 139, were shriveled or abnormal, and afforded no test of nut quality during the six-year period. Thus, nut quality data, based on 440 nut crop samples, are complete for 128 of the 132 sample trees. From this study, the average common black walnut in the Tennessee Valley has a nut weight of 17 grams, a kernel weight of 3.3 grams, a total kernel content of 20 per cent, a marketable kernel recovery at first crack of 17 per cent, and a quarter recovery of unbroken quarters averaging 1.8.
[Footnote 13: The kernels were extracted over a 6-mesh wire screen. In commercial cracking, kernel pieces passing through this type of screen are not marketable as kernels.]
Table I—Yield of Nuts and Kernels, and Cracking Quality of Nuts from 132 Sample Trees of Common Black Walnut in the Tennessee Valley
Diameter at 4-1/2 Sample ft. number av. yr. 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Av. yr.
inches pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds 1 20.4 27 16 2 95 5 3 25 2 14.9 43 43 26 45 42 23 38 3 9.3 22 12 8 22 6 29 17 5 11.2 54 0 61 0 33 7 26 6 13.6 28 1 72 0 16 1 20 8 13.2 50 28 23 41 76 45 44
9 13.2 36 50 40 28 33 7 32 10 22.9 29 25 0 0 6 15 12 11 6.1 2 4 12 2 4 1 4 12 17.4 110 18 128 40 100 49 74 13 14.5 98 5 83 50 46 128 68 14 12.2 1 0 12 3 2 98 19
15 11.6 38 46 44 106 0 63 50 16 15.7 130 0 106 25 135 33 72 17 12.0 1 66 4 100 2 61 39 18 7.8 20 0 40 21 33 4 20 25 8.6 13 0 82 0 0 0 16 26 20.7 0 36 46 90 0 67 46
27 8.4 0 1 26 2 0 22 8 28 8.0 0 11 1 19 0 12 7 29 9.2 0 17 22 21 2 19 14 30 15.2 150 25 200 0 102 15 82 31 18.0 33 194 14 259 0 135 106 34 16.4 0 108 0 25 0 129 44
37 19.7 0 0 31 0 0 0 5 38 9.1 2 0 14 0 47 0 10 39 17.7 151 0 80 0 56 0 48 40 16.5 88 0 50 5 37 6 31 41 9.5 60 0 74 0 67 0 34 42 14.5 123 0 170 0 119 0 69
Av. Filled nuts Complete crack Kernel ____ ____ yield First- bearing In terms crack Crops yrs. of total Average marketable Kernel tested number only weight weight kernel weight Kernel Quarters basis _____________
pounds percent grams percent grams percent number number 1 2.2 6 17 21 3.7 22 2.9 2 2 4.9 50 14 17 2.6 19 1.3 5 3 2.2 63 16 18 3.3 21 2.0 7 5 7.9 67 16 23 4.5 27 1.1 3 6 4.9 92 14 22 3.2 23 2.8 4 8 5.6 59 24 17 5.0 21 3.0 7
9 6.1 56 16 20 3.6 23 1.3 5 10 1.6 36 13 15 2.6 19 0.6 2 11 0.8 99 14 16 2.7 19 1.4 7 12 16.3 95 18 17 4.2 23 1.5 7 13 17.9 92 19 25 5.2 28 2.9 7 14 4.9 91 19 18 4.3 22 2.4 3
15 11.8 96 17 19 3.4 20 2.1 6 16 20.0 94 24 19 6.0 25 2.3 6 17 8.4 97 13 17 2.7 20 2.5 7 18 5.3 85 15 24 4.0 26 2.5 4 25 9.6 93 18 16 3.8 21 2.5 4 26 5.5 42 16 14 3.1 18 0.6 4
27 2.7 95 17 19 3.7 21 1.2 3 28 1.7 99 9 14 1.6 18 1.6 4 29 3.4 100 11 15 2.2 21 1.2 4 30 19.9 77 19 17 4.3 23 2.3 3 31 25.1 90 20 15 4.5 23 1.3 4 34 16.8 73 20 17 4.0 20 2.5 2
37 6.2 100 16 16 2.8 18 3.4 2 38 4.5 63 18 14 2.8 15 2.3 2 39 15.0 87 19 14 3.5 18 2.2 3 40 4.9 82 20 13 3.1 15 2.3 3 41 9.1 73 16 17 3.0 19 2.5 3 42 28.4 86 19 21 4.5 24 3.3 3 46 13.8 14 18 15 36 12 12 18 47 9.8 15 0 39 0 20 2 13 48 13.6 25 34 50 52 17 96 46 49 6.6 14 9 16 4 19 0 10 50 9.5 29 0 13 25 0 57 20 51 11.2 11 13 11 0 24 0 10
52 13.3 25 8 0 84 0 14 22 56 13.4 15 8 0 12 4 6 8 57 16.7 162 5 103 17 74 4 59 58 12.0 42 2 30 6 20 2 17 59 9.4 2 8 4 8 2 8 5 60 9.6 1 1 3 0 2 0 1
61 10.6 2 2 20 1 10 0 6 62 12.4 27 6 23 7 13 0 13 63 12.1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 64 11.8 18 2 37 0 21 0 13 65 17.8 130 53 101 9 107 0 67 66 9.6 31 0 25 1 13 5 12 67 9.4 89 0 7 7 10 11 21 69 13.7 70 2 104 4 30 2 35 70 16.1 72 2 11 95 0 68 41 71 15.2 7 1 43 1 0 1 9 76 8.1 7 0 6 0 9 0 4 77 11.2 40 0 21 6 4 23 16
78 11.4 34 0 40 0 31 2 18 79 16.4 28 0 24 0 11 22 14 80 11.4 132 44 110 8 189 42 88 86 24.9 191 0 282 0 64 110 108 87 14.0 45 0 107 0 31 9 32 89 8.4 1 8 2 39 0 44 16
90 13.2 11 6 72 8 13 7 20 91 12.4 68 5 200 3 54 22 59 92 17.6 18 74 138 76 2 126 72 93 10.9 30 0 48 3 26 0 18 94 7.2 0 36 0 21 0 53 18
46 1.7 51 17 16 2.8 17 2.8 4 47 3.8 97 11 17 2.2 20 1.0 3 48 8.2 83 13 16 2.6 20 1.3 4 49 2.0 80 18 16 3.7 20 2.0 3 50 3.7 72 17 19 3.6 21 3.4 3 51 1.9 49 18 19 4.2 23 1.6 3 52 6.0 80 18 16 3.2 18 1.3 2 56 0.6 13 22 20 4.8 22 3.0 1 57 4 0 58 9 0 59 0.4 20 27 19 5.6 21 3.0 2 60 0.0 0 22 15 3.4 15 3.9 1
61 0.2 48 14 9 2.0 14 1.5 2 62 0.4 15 25 19 4.6 19 3.8 2 63 0.5 94 13 21 3.2 24 3.1 2 64 3.1 70 21 20 5.1 24 3.2 3 65 7.9 58 23 15 3.7 16 3.4 3 66 1.6 34 24 18 4.6 19 3.7 3
67 2.2 31 20 18 3.7 18 3.6 3 69 8.6 92 21 21 5.4 25 1.9 3 70 9.2 87 18 16 3.4 20 1.5 3 71 2.0 88 14 16 2.6 19 1.9 3 76 1.4 94 13 16 2.6 20 2.2 4 77 2.6 89 21 16 3.5 17 3.6 3
78 4.2 80 20 14 3.6 18 3.0 3 79 5.0 97 21 20 5.0 24 2.8 3 80 19.3 94 18 22 4.3 23 3.2 3 86 32.0 96 13 19 2.8 20 1.8 4 87 11.3 100 11 19 2.7 22 0.5 3 89 3.2 91 13 18 2.6 21 1.1 6
90 3.4 87 18 19 3.5 20 2.6 3 91 13.4 96 16 22 3.8 23 2.4 7 92 15.5 93 16 20 3.4 21 2.2 7 93 5.1 97 12 14 2.4 18 1.7 3 94 3.6 52 19 24 4.7 24 2.1 3
Table I——Yield of Nuts and Kernels, and Cracking Quality of Nuts from 132 Sample Trees of Common Black Walnut in the Tennessee Valley (continued)
Diameter at 4-1/2 Sample ft. number av. yr. 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Av. yr.
inches pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds 96 16.5 23 31 93 51 29 103 55 97 9.8 2 8 9 7 4 6 6 98 21.3 44 20 66 35 26 4 32 100 27.8 159 272 65 334 6 80 153 101 21.2 0 294 120 206 30 239 148 102 13.1 38 2 44 4 12 3 17
103 7.5 20 15 25 30 9 119 36 104 12.3 40 17 52 17 16 0 24 106 11.4 50 16 66 29 46 66 46 107 13.2 29 0 5 8 0 1 7 108 9.0 34 11 12 25 12 7 17 109 12.6 11 12 30 69 0 14 23
110 14.9 65 104 29 61 54 32 58 111 11.3 8 55 5 65 0 54 31 116 11.8 0 16 6 7 4 9 7 117 17.0 10 285 13 142 116 387 159 118 13.3 3 78 6 170 4 263 87 119 14.6 0 34 148 0 40 145 61
121 17.6 67 9 41 15 0 64 33 129 13.3 13 70 8 157 0 149 66 130 15.3 47 1 50 10 0 24 22 131 16.2 78 1 33 89 0 69 45 132 14.2 6 8 22 10 0 17 10 134 13.3 9 20 11 17 24 3 14
135 14.1 12 55 0 15 0 94 29 136 15.1 7 1 18 14 0 2 7 137 9.4 27 0 38 13 5 28 18 138 14.5 36 18 28 35 69 8 32 139 10.2 14 9 19 64 51 0 26 140 11.1 0 18 62 53 28 34 32
Av. Filled nuts Complete crack Kernel ____ ____ yield First- bearing In terms crack Crops yrs. of total Average marketable Kernel tested number only weight weight kernel weight Kernel Quarters basis _____________
pounds percent grams percent grams percent number number
96 9.6 100 12 15 2.1 17 0.7 3 97 0.6 51 11 13 1.7 15 2.0 3 98 2.7 44 18 10 2.4 13 0.4 7 100 31.4 97 22 17 4.6 21 2.8 7 101 31.7 94 25 15 4.8 19 1.5 3 102 3.4 49 18 19 3.6 20 2.5 3
103 5.9 94 19 16 3.7 20 0.9 3 104 4.4 84 15 15 2.5 17 0.8 3 106 6.2 81 18 15 3.1 17 1.4 3 107 2.1 78 13 14 2.1 16 0.7 4 108 3.4 99 16 17 3.4 15 0.9 3 109 5.0 98 14 14 2.6 18 0.6 3
110 9.1 77 23 14 4.8 20 1.1 3 111 7.7 100 15 17 3.0 21 0.6 3 116 1.4 100 15 16 2.7 18 0.7 3 117 32.2 86 29 15 5.7 20 1.5 7 118 15.2 96 19 12 3.3 18 0.2 3 119 12.2 72 20 18 4.0 20 1.6 3
121 7.1 92 16 17 3.0 19 0.7 3 129 14.2 98 16 15 3.0 18 0.8 3 130 4.4 97 13 14 2.2 16 1.3 4 131 10.2 95 19 17 3.8 20 1.7 3 132 2.7 98 17 16 3.5 21 1.0 3 134 1.7 75 16 14 2.6 16 0.7 3
135 3.4 58 20 15 3.3 16 1.5 3 136 1.8 41 10 13 1.7 17 0.1 3 137 2.7 66 15 17 3.0 20 0.7 3 138 2.7 49 16 15 2.6 19 0.6 4 139 8 140 7.6 92 13 19 2.9 22 0.8 3 199 13.3 15 4 2 2 6 200 10.4 18 17 1 1 9 201 13.1 30 28 23 117 50 202 15.1 2 4 14 0 5 203 13.7 13 30 8 21 18 205 22.6 56 34 33 77 50
206 9.3 46 26 39 4 29 207 5.8 1 0 9 1 3 208 10.4 2 8 4 19 8 210 6.6 35 0 15 0 12 211 12.6 2 4 3 1 2 214 13.1 32 11 19 24 22
215 6.9 3 5 6 0 4 216 10.8 0 6 2 5 3 217 19.1 111 12 62 25 48 218 7.1 18 0 1 0 5 219 12.0 5 13 26 14 14 220 10.7 13 0 8 6 7
221 6.4 0 0 0 3 1 222 15.3 29 6 6 7 12 223 19.2 22 3 6 0 8 224 13.9 53 11 16 29 27 225 16.8 16 57 27 48 37 226 15.6 119 26 101 13 65
227 6.6 9 12 0 33 14 228 7.3 4 9 0 2 4 231 18.4 74 41 0 184 75 232 21.1 47 0 0 180 57 236 22.3 8 204 0 120 83 237 20.3 121 29 86 95 83
240 6.6 5 7 3 13 7 241 13.0 50 24 44 2 30 242 6.4 11 8 10 1 8 243 22.0 82 0 13 11 26 246 21.1 93 220 52 216 145 247 19.1 2 57 17 1 21
199 1.8 49 19 22 4.8 25 3.0 4 200 1.7 24 17 16 3.3 19 2.0 3 201 10.9 100 17 19 3.8 22 2.2 3 202 0.4 46 21 14 4.1 20 1.0 3 203 4.3 97 18 23 4.4 25 3.1 3 205 6.4 19 11 22 2.6 23 4.0 1
206 4.2 98 19 12 2.7 15 2.2 3 207 0.7 21 17 15 2.8 16 2.0 2 208 1.1 66 16 22 3.8 24 2.4 3 210 4.8 98 17 14 3.2 19 0.7 3 211 0.3 83 11 11 1.6 15 0.2 3 214 3.0 87 18 16 3.1 17 2.7 3
215 0.9 100 13 18 2.7 20 0.7 3 216 0.7 97 11 13 1.7 16 0.6 4 217 12.1 93 18 21 4.4 25 0.8 3 218 1.7 100 18 17 3.0 17 2.6 2 219 2.5 94 11 17 2.0 18 0.8 3 220 0.8 61 20 13 3.2 16 1.9 3
221 0.4 53 16 20 3.4 21 3.2 2 222 1.3 72 16 16 3.0 18 1.9 3 223 0.8 55 12 19 2.6 20 0.5 3 224 4.9 93 17 16 3.5 20 1.1 3 225 7.8 94 15 18 3.4 22 1.0 3 226 9.8 96 12 12 1.9 16 0.2 3
227 4.2 99 16 19 3.6 23 0.7 3 228 1.1 99 15 21 3.3 22 2.3 3 231 7.3 52 10 17 2.3 19 1.1 3 232 26.6 98 19 17 4.5 24 2.0 3 236 10.5 26 15 17 3.0 19 0.5 2 237 16.1 100 18 14 3.5 19 1.5 3
240 1.2 100 14 15 2.5 17 0.9 3 241 4.6 96 14 15 2.3 16 1.2 3 242 1.4 98 13 17 2.5 20 0.7 3 243 4.9 98 14 12 2.0 14 1.3 3 246 29.6 98 14 16 2.9 21 0.7 3 247 1.2 23 15 12 1.7 15 0.2 3
Results of cracking tests show that, in general, cracking quality of nut samples from the trees in this study is poor. When cracked, the kernels crumble badly, making extraction difficult and quarter recovery low. Variation in cracking quality can be seen by studying the values in Table 1. Nuts from trees 28 and 136 were extremely small, averaging 9 and 10 grams, respectively. Nuts from trees 61 and 98 had generally poor characteristics. Trees bearing walnuts of better-than-average quality are trees 5 and 18 with high total kernel per cent, and trees 8, 16, and 59 with high nut weight and an unusually high kernel weight. Other trees, of interest as exceptional bearers, include tree 101 with large nut weight, and tree 117 with both exceptional nut and kernel weight. The outstanding tree in the study from the standpoint of cracking quality of the nuts is tree 13, which has exhibited those characteristics of thinness of shell and high kernel content sought for in improved varieties. This black walnut selection is being propagated at the Norris Nursery under the appropriate name of Norris.
[Footnote 14: Kline, L. V. A method of evaluating the nuts of black walnut varieties. Proc. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 41:136-144. 1942.]
Results from this study on the common black walnut have application in the evaluation of the relative yield and nut quality of improved selections suitable for use in the Tennessee Valley. This summary should also prove of value to other workers dealing with black walnut in other regions. It provides a basis for comparison, brings out the possibilities for making selections, and emphasizes the importance of nut production from improved varieties.
The 1946 Field Tour
By C. A. Reed
Attending the indoor sessions of the meeting for two days in Wooster, visiting the Station orchards and plantings near town and contacting personally some of the big men of the Staff together with the wives of some, called for intensive attention on the part of everybody. It was time exceedingly well spent and created a feeling in everybody that they would like soon to return for another convention of the same kind. But the good things that had been planned were not over when the delegates left on the morning of the third day in the general direction of their homes. No matter in what direction they went, hardly a route could be found which did not lead near or through the home town of some nut man.
A few took opportunity to visit the planting near Wooster of the late W. R. Fickes. A letter is before my eyes as these lines are being written which was directed to Dr. W. C. Deming by Mr. Fickes on January 9, 1924, in which he asked for information regarding certain kinds of nut trees which he did not have. He mentioned having Beaver, Fairbanks, and Siers hickory hybrids and asked about Weiker. He wanted to know about Barcelona and White Aveline filberts. He said he had procured seven varieties of filbert of European origin which were then being featured by Conrad Vollertsen of Rochester, N. Y. He was concerned over the chestnut weevil as he had about 125 trees of the Reihl varieties from Illinois and already weevils were troublesome.
Those who had the privilege of keeping in touch with Mr. Fickes during his later years know that he assembled together a good many varieties of other kinds of nuts. His was an excellent collection of black walnut varieties. Persons who knew him well still mourn his passing. He was the type of man who made others feel better to be in his presence.
It was 24 years ago last February that the American Nut Journal, then edited and published by R. T. Olcott of Rochester, N. Y., told of "x x the 57-acre farm of O. F. Witte near Amherst (in northern Ohio), on which Mr. Witte, who was then 72 years old, had been growing nuts for 52 years." The dispatch went on to say that the "x x farm was devoted exclusively" to nut trees. What a pity such men can't live on indefinitely! However, the spirits of Fickes and Witte live on. No one need go far in Ohio to see the evidence.
Going east from Wooster on the morning of the third day, a group of 50 or more persons stopped first at Kidron where they were shown the nut plantings of Mr. E. P. Gerber and his family of that small hamlet. A half mile north of town, Mr. Gerber led the party through his largest planting of nut trees mostly of bearing age. Of black walnuts he showed such varieties as Deming (purple foliage, especially in early spring), Lamb (the original tree had a figured grain), Ohio, Stabler, Ten Eyck, and Thomas. Of pecan, there were five varieties, Busseron, Butterick, Greenriver, Indiana and Posey. In the group of heartnuts, there were two named varieties, Bates and Faust, and one of which Mr. Gerber appeared not to have the name. He simply called it a "sport." There were filberts of various kinds, Barcelona, DuChilly and Jones Hybrids, being the ones bearing variety designations. Also there were Persian (English) walnut trees, principally Broadview and Crath. Mr. Gerber had more Chinese chestnut seedlings than trees of any other one kind. There was but one butternut and that appeared to have been unnamed. Altogether 40 black walnut trees, 20 pecan, 30 filbert, 20 Persian walnut, one butternut, and 140 Chinese chestnut trees were seen.
Upon finishing with the first block of trees, the party was taken into town where a large business house of Gerber and Sons was passed and a short visit paid to a second planting in the rear of various Gerber buildings, including the residence of Mr. Gerber. Here were some two or three dozen fine appearing trees of various species and hybrid forms.
Lastly at Kidron, the party, was piloted a half mile west to a small park which Mr. Gerber had developed as a public picnic ground and a source of water for the village. It was well planted with nut trees and it was here that the Gerber family had provided tables and various food delicacies, including fresh milk, peaches and ice cream for everybody. A great part of the work of preparation had been taken care of by Mrs. Gerber and her two youngest children.
The next stop on the tour was at the Mahoning County Experiment Farm, a half-mile south of Canfield, some 70 odd miles east and north of Wooster. Here transportation was provided and the entire group was taken in charge by L. Walter Sherman, Superintendent. The first impression one gained here was that of good buildings, excellent land, able management, and a lot of things under way. All is comparatively new. From a mimeographed list of species, varieties, hybrids, and strains which was prepared in June for another occasion, one gathered that there were perhaps more seedling nut trees here than grafted kinds. Mr. Sherman has reported fully elsewhere in these Proceedings regarding the nut work that is under way at this Station.
Report of the Resolutions Committee
The Northern Nut Growers Association in its annual meeting assembled at Wooster, Ohio, September 3rd to 5th, 1946, adopted the following resolutions:
That our sincere thanks be extended to Dr. Edmund Secrest, Director of the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station and other members of his staff for the courtesies extended, and for the facilities provided in the use of the auditorium and exhibit room of the Station.
That we extend thanks to the speakers who unitedly made a successful meeting.
That we appreciate the fine work of our Secretary, Miss Mildred M. Jones, in formulating the program and that we are mindful of the valuable assistance rendered by Dr. Oliver Diller, Mr. Clarence A. Reed, and Mr. A. A. Bungart.
That we acknowledge appreciation to the estate of the late Zenas H. Ellis for providing in his will a gift of one thousand dollars to a special fund of the Association and that we thank Mr. Sargent H. Wellman for his legal efforts therewith.
That the members of the Northern Nut Growers Association fully appreciate and extend sincere thanks to our officers for their hard work and enthusiastic efforts in maintaining the Association during the past five years when war conditions precluded annual meetings.
RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE C. F. Walker, Chairman J. L. Smith Albert B. Ferguson
DR. J. H. GOURLEY
Members of this Association who attended the Wooster meeting in 1946 will not soon forget the cheery, witty and resourceful toastmaster who presided at their annual banquet, Dr. Joseph Gourley. Soon after this meeting, on October 19th, to be exact, Dr. Gourley was stricken with coronary thrombosis, and the field of horticulture lost a nationally known leader.
Dr. Gourley's passing came at a time of high tide in his work. "Less than an hour before he was stricken," said an associate, "he was engaged in planning a project that he knew would continue long after his active career must end. This is the spirit of the true research man."
He was a graduate of Ohio State University, had served as head of the Department of Horticulture in the University of New Hampshire and later in a like position with the University of West Virginia. In 1921, he was appointed chief of the Department of Horticulture at the Ohio Experiment Station and, from 1929, he concurrently held the position of Chairman of the Department of Horticulture at Ohio State University. He served both of these offices until the day of his death. He was the author of many bulletins and technical articles as well as of some better known text books which have had wide use in American Universities. He had acted as president of The American Society for Horticultural Science, President of The American Promological Society, and as president and member of numerous similar organizations to which he gave continued and enthusiastic service.
It is as a good teacher, companion and warm friend, however, that Dr. Gourley will best be remembered by those who knew him well. His life and fire have sparked many another teacher, research worker and common man to greater effort and better achievement. A close associate closed a press notice of Dr. Gourley's passing with these words:
"His consideration for his associates, both those equal and below in rank, marked his every contact through his long years of service. He was indeed, a truly great Chief.
His family and close associates in the two departments he headed for so many years will miss him most of all, but life for them and for countless others who called him friend has been made richer, fuller and deeper because he passed this way.
Teacher, scientist, Christian gentleman, friend and chief, we salute you."
* * * * *
MRS. I. E. BIXBY
Mrs. Ida Elise Bixby, wife of the late Willard G. Bixby, died at her home at Baldwin, New York, April 29, 1945.
Mrs. Bixby was a life member of the Northern Nut Growers Association, of which her late husband was a past president. Following Mr. Bixby's death in August, 1933, Mrs. Bixby interested the United States Department of Agriculture in taking over much of their large experimental planting of nut trees. Many specimens were moved to experiment stations under Government control, while other institutions as well as individuals benefitted by their collection.
Mrs. Bixby is survived by three children: Willard F., of Cleveland, Ohio; and Katherine Elise and Ida Tielke, of Baldwin.
Letters to the Secretary; Notes; Extracts
EXCERPT FROM LETTER TO SECRETARY FROM G. S. JONES
July 4, 1946. From G. S. Jones, R 1, Box 140, Phenix City, Lee County, Alabama.
My trees (Chinese chestnuts) appear to be healthy and grow vigorously. (They were given me by the Bureau of Plant Industry in 1934.) They began bearing in 5 or 6 years and have now been bearing quite large crops for 3 or 4 years. There are 22 trees in the orchard, and the approximate yields have been: 1943—550 pounds; 1944—450 pounds, and 1945—950 pounds. The enormous increase in 1945 was due partly, I am quite sure, to mineralized fertilizer (Es Min. El.) which I began using in 1944.
As my trees are seedlings they vary considerably in productivity and in size of nuts. Most of the nuts are of good size and quality when first gathered. This is where the trouble begins. The keeping quality is very poor, sometimes half of them spoil during the first month after being harvested. Since this is the case, you can see that germination may be very poor, unless they are handled in a special way. Refrigeration helps for a short while only. During the last two years, I have had good results in germination by stratifying the nuts under the trees, just as soon as they fall. In this way, the nuts are not allowed to become too dry as they are not exposed to the hot sun but are kept in the shade. Our falls are usually dry and our soil is sandy so there is little danger of the nuts becoming too wet during the winter. The danger of spoilage does not seem to be so great by the time winter rains set in. By this plan, I have had from 60 to 90 per cent germination during the last two years. I dig the nuts just as soon as they begin to sprout in late winter and line them out in nursery rows where they are to grow during the first year. Sometimes the sprouts become from 4 to 6 inches in length before I get to do the moving, but they transplant easily. I believe the micorrhiza from the soil of the old trees helps the young ones to grow better.
December 11, 1946—My chestnut trees this fall produced slightly over 1,722 pounds. The nuts seemed to keep better than usual which I attribute to the cool rainy weather which we had during the ripening period. Hot, dry weather causes the nuts to begin spoiling quickly. My records show August 7th as the beginning of the ripening period and October 3rd as the ending. So one can see that this is often a hot and dry period in our section.
* * * * *
EXCERPT FROM LETTER TO SECRETARY FROM MRS. W. D. POUNDEN
Dairy Department—Ohio Agric. Expt. Sta. Wooster, Ohio October 14, 1946
I am glad to give you the method I used in canning pecan kernels.
Spread the shelled pecans in a shallow pan and place in a warm oven just long enough to heat the kernels through. Have clean jars—preferably pints so that the heat will penetrate more easily in processing—which have been warmed in the oven to be sure they are thoroughly dry inside before adding the pecans. Fill the jars with the pecans (do not add any liquid), place the lid on the jar (I prefer the Kerr self-sealing type), and process the nut-filled jars in a 250 deg. oven for 30 minutes.
I have kept pecan meats for over a year using this method and they are as crisp and good as when they came out of the shell.
At an informal meeting at Dr. Diller's cabin the evening before the Convention, Mr. Slate was asked to say something about hybrids.
Mr. G. L. Slate: Hybrids between black and Persian walnuts were made at Geneva about 1916 by Professor W. H. Alderman, now of the Minnesota Experiment Station. After these trees had fruited all but five were removed to permit the remaining trees to attain full size. The trees have produced very few nuts and have been absolutely no good. Various persons have attempted to raise second-generation seedlings from these trees, but from my observation no one has succeeded.
From what I know of these hybrids and what Reed has published about those with which he is familiar I am convinced it a waste of time and effort to attempt to produce hybrids between black and Persian walnuts with the hope of getting desirable nuts. The trees themselves are very rapid growing, handsome and well worth while as shade trees. But the walnut breeder will have more to show for his efforts if he confines his labor for the time being to improving the black and Persian walnuts by crossing among themselves the many clones within each species.
However, the unsatisfactory hybrids between black and Persian walnuts, of between butternuts and Persian walnuts should not blind us to the fact that there are many species-hybrids of great pomological value. The hybrids between the Rush variety of Corylus americana and various varieties of C. avellana produced by the late J. F. Jones are very much worth while. Some of our finest red raspberry varieties are hybrids of the European and American species.
The purple raspberry resulted from crossing the red and black raspberries. All our cultivated strawberries are descended from crosses between the native Virginia strawberry and the Chilean strawberry. The valuable new plums from the Minnesota Experiment Station resulted from crossing the native American plum, Prunus americana with the Japanese plum, P. salicina. Many of our best grapes, the Boysenberry, the Kieffer pear, and various citrus varieties are species hybrids.
We must not generalize too much as to the merit or lack of merit of species-hybrids. Some are very good and of great economic importance. Many others of which we never hear are without merit, often being discarded, leaving only a few lines in a notebook to record their characteristics.